Five tech workers are bringing a civil lawsuit against Apple, Google, Pixar and others, but this may turn in to a much larger civil action lawsuit if one plaintiff has their way.
According to the five tech workers, top execs at the above mentioned companies strategically agreed not to hire employees that worked for the other. As a result, the five are accusing the big name companies of conspiring to eliminate competition, in addition to providing the companies a way of driving down wages as a result of the agreement.
The evidence seems to be stacked against companies such as Google and Apple.
In 2007, Palm, the one time popular manufacturer of the top selling PDA, was in the process of creating the Palm Pre. Palm’s new device was going to be their attempt to directly compete with Apple’s iPhone. Steve Jobs was a bit unhappy with Palm at the time. For one reason, some of his Apple ex-senior staff members had moved to Apple’s rival, Palm.
Ed Colligan was Palm’s CEO at the time and replied to an email Steve seems to have initially sent. In the reply Ed sent, Ed said that, “Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other’s employees, regardless of the individual’s desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal.” The following was Steve Job’s response to Ed’s opposition:
In the email Steve Jobs is basically tells Ed Colligan, look we have more resources than you do. So if you want to fight me on this issue, then good luck. That’s a basic interpretation Steve’s short response email on the matter. The now public emails show Steve Jobs to be more than just a man known for innovation, but a shrewd, even threatening businessman that was prepared to lock-in employees.
Other companies have been indicted in this issue as well. Companies including, Adobe, Walt Disney’s Pixar, Intel, Intuit and Lucasfilm Ltd.
Here Google former CEO Eric Schidmt discusses a similar matter:
The now famous Judge Lucy Koh appears to be over the case. Being a judge US district court judge in the San Jose area appears to have many benefits in overseeing sometimes difficult tech cases. Judge Lucy Koh is now well known for presiding over many of the Samsung / Apple patent issues. Word also has it that Judge Koh is actually considering one of the plaintiffs’ request to turn the case into a class action law suit. That would increase the plaintiff’s chances of winning damages and would probably be a huge payment since all the corporations involved would be liable together.